How much more do we know about the world of Supergirl now that we've met Superman and hung out with the team as part of the show's season 2 premiere?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. This week was a flat-out Easter egg extravaganza, with names being dropped all over the place, specific storylines being referenced, and more.
Oh, and the 30 (!) winks, nods, Easter eggs, and DC Comics references we spotted tonight aren't even the end-all, be-all. We're omitting plenty of stuff that has already been referenced on the show before.
Here's the basic rule: if a thing or person has been name-dropped on the show before, they're only getting an entry if they play a specific role in the A plot of the episode. So, for instance, Lois Lane and Perry White won't get their own entry here, even though each of them was repeatedly referenced. They've been referenced in past episodes of Supergirl and they do not have a direct bearing on the events of tonight's episode, except that each of them briefly talks with Clark Kent.
That said, Clark Kent -- also frequently referenced -- will be named here. And some of his specific relationships -- now being defined for the first time -- will be addressed.
So...what did we see? What did we miss? What do you think we should have counted, but we didn't? Read on, and comment below.
"THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL"
The title of the episode -- "The Adventures of Supergirl" -- may be recognizable to comic book fans as the title of the digital-first comic book series set in the world of the Supergirl TV show and written by beloved Supergirl writer Sterling Gates.
Even that was a reference, though, to the comic (and before that, the TV series) titled The Adventures of Superman.
The TV series -- which starred George Reeves and was the first live-action adaptation of the Man of Steel for television -- aired from 1952 until Reeves's death in 1958. It inspired generations of comic book and film creators to put their own stamp on the characters, and greatly increased the popularity of Jimmy Olsen, a character who was created for the radio and later imported into the comics and TV.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot at DC Comics, the ongoing Superman comic was turned into The Adventures of Superman. It was at first a team-up book, with new guests coming and going each story. It would later turn into just another one of four monthly Superman titles at the time. Around the time of Infinite Crisis, DC cancelled the volume of Superman that had launched in 1987 and The Adventures of Superman became Superman again. Later, a digital-first anthology series called The Adventures of Superman was released.
The appearance of the pod happened at the end of last season, and this is all pretty familiar territory for fans who were watching Supergirl on CBS for that reason...but opening it up didn't happen on camera last year, and that's a pretty big deal.
While he's not identified in the episode, this is Mon-El, a longtime member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
A member of the Daxamite culture -- a race that are very much like Kryptonians, except that they are weakened by lead, not Kryptonite -- Mon-El was once mistaken for Superboy's long-lost brother because he was obsessed with Kryptonian culture and when he came to Earth without his memories, meeting a Kryptonian started to jumpstart some of what he had locked away in his head about that culture.
In the post-Crisis continuity, Superman got his powers as an adult and so there was no Superboy. The Legion of Super-Heroes, then, had Mon-El to fill the role previously occupied by Superboy in old stories.
It sounds like he'll be a good guy and a problem for Supergirl and company this season, but so far all we know is...he's a guy in a Kryptonian pod, and he's unconscious.
"A BAT BIT ME..."
This feels like a Batman V Superman joke.
In all seriousness, there were a few things -- the new digs have always been there and it's "like the old one...maybe a little better" -- that felt a little like maybe they're all very wink-wink-nudge-nudge jokes about the network move, so we wouldn't put it past them.
Eve Tessmacher was a character introduced in Superman: The Movie. She also appeared in Superman II.
Played by Valerie Perrinne, she was Lex Luthor's beautiful and often good-hearted assistant/lady friend, who betrayed Lex at a key moment in Superman: The Movie in order to save the life of her mother, who might be caught up in the wake of Luthor's scheme.
In Smallville, they had a character with close ties to Lex whose name was Tess Mercer. More on her in a bit.
In the movies, Lex Luthor often screamed, exasperated, for "MISS TESSMACHER" when he wanted her, just as Cat Grant does here.
THE EXPERIMENTAL SPACE PLANE
While a parallel to the Supergirl pilot, in and of itself a nifty little bit of business, the Venture also feels like a bit of a nod to The Man of Steel, John Byrne's post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the Superman franchise.
Superman's initial feat is often saving a plane of some kind, but in the Byrne revamp, it was an "experimental space plane," on which Lois Lane was flying to cover the story. Saving the plane was the place where Superman first met Lois.
THE DAILY PLANET
The Daily Planet is, of course, that great Metropolitan newspaper that employs people like Clark Kent, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, and more in the comics.
In both the comics and on TV, that's where Cat Grant cut her teeth and developed an interest in journalism beyond tabloid sensationalism.
And we see a Daily Planet-branded news kiosk in Metropolis in this week's episode.
Other papers on that newsstand include the Metropolis Daily Star, for which the Golden Age/Earth-2 Superman worked, and the Midvale Gazette, the newspaper of Supergirl's hometown from the comics.
CatCo Magazine is also on those shelves, if you look hard.
It's been a while since we saw this version of Clark Kent.
Smallville wanted to make him likable, relateable and aspirational so they avoided the bumbling and awkwardness for the most part. That was itself in keeping with the then-current take in the comics, in which the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Clark was being depicted as a more put-together guy, in part because they wanted him to seem like a more realistic love interest for Lois Lane, and they wanted to remove the Superman/Clark/Lois love triangle and replace it with something a little more down-to-Earth.
More on that later, too.
GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST
There was quite a bit of calling back to previous Clark Kent/Daily Planet conversations in there, with his outdated slang and the reference to "Great Caesar's Ghost," Perry White's catchphrase.
Funny enoguh, in a recent issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, Superman and the Scooby gang faced off against Caesar's actual ghost, who was hanging around the newsroom at the Planet.
THE SHIRT RIP
The iconography of Clark Kent ripping open his shirt and springing into action as Superman is one that we lost in The New 52 (since his costume was living Kryptonian crypto-armor or whatever it was) and haven't seen in the Man of Steel films, so it's been a while since this was a big part of his visual aesthetic.
Nevertheless, it happens here -- and it's back to happening at least a bit in the comics, since the pre-Flashpoint Clark and his old cloth costume are back.
YES, WE'RE COUNTING SUPERMAN
This is the first time Superman and Supergirl have appeared together in live action.
So it counts, even though he's appeared (briefly) on the show before and has been mentioned dozens of times.
THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR...
The both of us?
This is a nice twist on the old "this looks like a job for Superman!" declaration, especially since it does a fair job of not shunting it off to one hero or the other as the one whose "job" it is.
Overall, the episode nicely balanced who does what, who gets what credit, and when Clark can be a coach and mentor to Kara without removing her agency. Pretty well done.
LEX LUTHOR'S EARTHQUAKE
"When Lex Luthor set off the earthquake in California..." starts Winn's question of Superman moments after the pair meet.
...Yeah, that's the plot of Superman: The Movie from 1978.
Does that mean this movie takes place in continuity with the Donner films? Of course not: the Supergirl movie, which did share a universe with those Superman films, has a very different take on Supergirl's backstory, family, and more.
It's more like the end of the Smallville series finale, where they revert Smallville Clark into Superman: The Movie Clark and end it with the John Williams theme.
THE LOST EASTER EGG
In a TV spot for Supergirl, Winn asked Superman instead how he [Superman] shaved.
In the post-Crisis continuity, at least, Superman shaved by bouncing his heat vision off of a reflective piece of metal taken from the hull of his Kryptonian escape pod. He carried it around in a concealed pocket in his cape, in case he needed to suddenly be out of town or off-world for an extended stint.
Other versions of the mythology have had him shave in other ways, including sometimes the same heat vision answer, but with any reflective surface, not necessarily the ship.
The idea that Kryptonians age slower than humans under Earth's yellow sun is hardly a new one.
Older Kryptonians can also become incredibly powerful due to the cumulative effect of storing up more solar energy than their younger counterparts, so you sometimes see stories like Kingdom Come, where Superman is significant less aged than characters like Batman and Aquaman, but also more powerful than his modern-day counterpart.
Lena Luthor is the sister to famed Superman villain Lex Luthor.
Rather than just being a "female Lex," she's typically much more complex. Is she good? Is she bad? It's rarely clear.
Right now, she's a villain in the pages of DC Comic's Superwoman, using a combination of New Gods tech and her own cloning processes to make herself "Ultra Woman," trying to make a name for herself after a lifetime of feeling Lex took credit for her accomplishments.
Another big catch-phrase checked off the list: Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is how he's often referred to -- including in the introduction to The Adventures of Superman TV show!
CLARK AND CAT
After relocating production from Los Angeles to Vancouver at the start of Season 2, Warner Bros. Television had to deal with questions about whether or not Cat Grant actress Calista Flockhart -- whose character was a major part of shaping the show last year -- would return at all. During a recent interview, showrunner Andrew Kreisberg said that she would return for at least the first two episodes.
"Well, she’s in the first two episodes and we’re talking to her about doing more, Kreisberg said. "It’s funny because, from our perspective, we thought she wouldn’t do any. And it’s not because she doesn’t love the show. She’s such a huge fan of the show, but moving to Vancouver, we assumed that we would part as friends.
"But she’s so into the show and feels such an allegiance and a responsibility to it that she’s agreed to come back, so we’re very happy. We’re not focusing on what we don’t have, we’re focusing on what we do have. It’s allowed us to have Ian Gomez, who’s playing Snapper Carr, come in, in a more supervisory capacity, which is fun. Kara has spent two years of her life learning to deal with Cat Grant’s idiosyncracies, foibles, short temper and mixed signals, and just when she finally got that down, she’s now introduced to a new boss who’s very different, has his own thing, and isn’t quite as impressed by her spunk as Cat always was, even if Cat wouldn’t admit it. It’s a journey, like any of us go on. We’ve all had different bosses, over the course of our careers."
Could Cat Grant's absence from CatCo be explained by a trip (or a return) to Metropolis?
Well, here's one theory: What if, as they did when Clark Kent was fired from The Daily Planet in The New 52, Cat and Clark Kent might decide to start a Metropolis-centric news blog together?
In the TV series, we know that Cat has a background with The Daily Planet. Before becoming Queen of All Media, she said during Season One that she had started as Perry White's personal assistant.
Jerry Ordway, who co-created Grant, told ComicBook.com about Cat's creation.
"Well, I can’t speak for Marv Wolfman’s intentions, only what I know. My take on Cat was that she came to like Clark Kent for who he was, while Lois loved Superman, and kind of barely tolerated Clark," he said. "So instead of one love triangle, Lois/Clark/Superman, we had another, Lois/Cat/Clark. With that change in the dynamic, we were able to have Lois look at Clark much differently, as a result of Cat Grant’s interest in him, which eventually led to Lois and Clark becoming a couple.
"Keep in mind that the intention of the Superman reboot was to de-age Superman and Clark from a 40-ish person, to someone shy of 30. From your father’s Superman to your own Superman, and romance was an important aspect to a younger, less conservative Clark."
To counter the point, Wolfman explained his stance on the subject.
"Clark Kent is a tall, handsome, wildly successful newspaperman/writer and I thought some woman would see him for his virtues rather than look down on him because he wasn’t Superman," he said. "Cat Grant was that person."
He went into a little more depth on the theme during an interview on the Superman fan podcast From Crisis to Crisis:
"Cat was very much a character that I wanted to be outrageous. She's a gossip columnist. I wanted her ot be outrageous and way out over the top and super fun and somebody who would just talk at Clark and help remake him," Wolfman said. "She got him out of those stupid suits and into sweaters and much more modern clothing -- and suddenly you would realize that there was a lot more to her than just this one-dimensional, flighty character. There was actually a very strong character who was trying to make a family and who saw in Clark a very stable, very good, very honest, very strong man, and that had not been in her life before."
Is any of this a guarantee that either the blog angle, or the romance angle, will be explored in Season Two? Absolutely not. It's pretty unlikely that Cat's departure will have anything to do with Superman's. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to think about how these things might shake out in a way that would make sense for the character.
As a fun aside, it's very likely we almost never had this conversation.
Per his own From Crisis to Crisis interview, Jerry Ordway had to sell DC Editorial on a story change that would keep Cat alive. When DC was working on Millennium, Ordway says they considered making Cat Grant a Manhunter robot.
For context, Millennium featured an invasion of Manhunter robots, who impersonated people close to the superheroes of the DC Universe in order to launch a massive surprise attack.
Editors at a meeting had been keen to use Grant, but Ordway proposed using Lana Lang, instead. "Cat Grant very likely wouldn't have survived Millennium....That means she's expendable in comics, so I guess I saved her for at least several years after that."
LOIS & CLARK
While Cat still sees Lois as "hung up on Superman," her bet in the office pool that Lois and Clark would have fizzled out by now is no good.
It seems from context clues that Lois knows Clark is Superman, and that their relationship is pretty happy and healthy.
Not quite married-with-a-kid like they are in the comics, but still.
Sometimes it's LexCorp, but in The CW's last big Superman-centric show, it was usually LuthorCorp.
It isn't now -- going with just L Corp, at least for the moment to distance itself from Lex's legacy -- but it's a pretty coo legacy to acknowledge nonetheless.
It's often common in this type of show to give most of the villains a common point of origin. In Arrow, most of the best ones have ties to Oliver's parents and the Undertaking. On The Flash, it's the particle accelerator explosion. On Smallville, there were quite a few Kryptonite-irradiated folks running around.
Here, it was aliens last year. Now, maybe, they're setting up the genetic tinkerers of Cadmus to be doing it.
Enter John Corbin, better known as the villain Metallo. Metallo is a cyborg with superhuman strength and a Kryptonite heart, which both gives him a relatively unlimited supply of power and makes him incredibly hard for Superman to stop, since in order to fight him, the Man of Steel has to get close to the Kryptonite heart.
He's one of the most common Superman villains in other-media adaptations; he's been rumored for a couple of the movies and has appeared in various forms on Smallville and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, among others. So it's arguably not surprising that when Superman made the pilgrimmage to National City, this is the baddie who followed him.
"Statistically speaking, flying is still the safest way to travel" is something that Chris Reeve's Superman tells Lois after rescuing one of the many struggling aircraft Superman is required to save in his career.
It's inverted a bit here, where Lena Luthor uses it as a kind of reassuring statement as she acknowledges that she doesn't like flying.
"We're moving back to Gotham," says a man saved by one of Metallo's drones.
Obviously, this establishes that there is indeed a Gotham City in the world of Supergirl.
Whether there's a Batman is probably another question, due to rights issues, but it's certainly encouraging.
Intergang is an organized crime group, primarily in Metropolis but sometimes seen around the DC Universe, who are outfitted with advanced weaponry which originates from the New Gods.
It's headed up by Bruno "Ugly" Manheim and has ties to smaller groups like The 100.
In the post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint DC Universe, Cat Grant infiltrated Intergang by becoming the lover of Morgan Edge, the head of the organization while Manheim was in prison, and conducting her first-ever investigative journalism piece, ultimately taking down Edge.
Recently in the comics, it popped up harassing Lois Lane in Superman: Lois and Clark. It previously was a driver of a lot of story on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
It's the first of three unsavory groups/events that John Corbin is linked to, according to his DEO file.
Corbin was also tied to Kasnian terrorist groups.
Kasnia (sometimes Kaznia) is a fictional DC Comics nation-state that's sometimes used as a stand-in for Balkan nations like Yugoslavia.
It first appeared in the Justice League animated series and has been referenced previously on Arrow, but never seen until it appeared briefly in DC's Legends of Tomorrow last year -- as a corporate state in a possible future.
"...and the genocide in Corto Maltese."
Named after an island off the coast of South America, the locale was created for Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns. It was referenced in Arrow's first season, when Oliver said that Deadshot had been operating out of the island prior to arriving in Starling City, and then later there was an actual episode of Arrow named after it.
In The Dark Knight Returns, Corto Maltese was at the center of an event very much like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Since that event involved the Soviets, it could also be that the KGBeast is involved. His alter ego, Anatoli Knyazev, appeared regularly throughout Arrow's second season.
The Corto Maltese revolution was an event referenced in 1989's Batman, repeatedly cited as the news story for which Vicki Vale won international acclaim.
WHY CLARK IS A REPORTER
Kara's heartfelt monologue at the end about the importance of good reporters is something that many Superman fans hav likely heard a version of before.
In most versions of the story, Clark is just a reporter. It's part of his character going back to the '30s and nobody really questions it.
In some stories, though, it's addressed and it kind of makes sense: it gives him a sense of connection with humanity that he could easily lose by being the "god" above them all the time. It puts him close to emergencies, people who need help, and the rest of humanity's best and worst.